Nov 22nd, 2015, 06:29 PM

Staring Into A Man's Sole

By Madeline Barnett
White New Balances? Virgin. (Image Credit: Jaden's Adventures)
Sorry, boys...your shoes might be why you're not getting any.

In college, one of my friend's male roommates, who has been single for years despite being attractive, intelligent, and kind, had a pair of black leather boots. I'm talking the type that have a small heel, cut off at the ankle, and curl slightly upwards at the toes, creating a deeply unsettling Spongebob Squarepants/Lord Licorice from Candy Land hybrid.

(Image Credit: Devient Art)

The boots could have potentially worked, had the guy been covered in tattoos while rocking a full-on British posh-grunge Harry Styles look, but that wouldn’t have matched his personality, so it just would have made everything more confusing. Instead of a pair of slim black jeans and a man bun, this guy paired his booties with white tubular athletic socks and either khaki cargo shorts or dad jeans. The boots became an unavoidable elephant in the room at parties, requiring a conscious effort to keep from staring at them. Consequently, his secret nickname became Count Olaf. College can be a rough place.

(Image Credit: Sally Lock)

In high school, the guy I had been daydreaming about for months took me on a lovely beach picnic and asked me to be his girlfriend. I remember that day vividly. The boy of my dreams was finally within reach, but his shoes were absolutely unacceptable and I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about them all day. They were similar to the shoes worn by my friend's college roommate, but with a higher heel and an even more dramatic curl to the toe.

Image Credit: CW Malls 

I stared deeply into those soles as I declined his offer.

According to a survey by men's footwear brand Allen Edmonds, 64 percent of women say shoes reflect a man's fashion sense, 52 percent of women say shoes reflect a man's personality, 36 percent of women say shoes reflect a man's financial position, and 54 percent of women say shoes reflect a man's attention to detail.

I would like to add another factor to the equation – the combination of pants and shoes. When I am gauging a man's attractiveness and charisma, I involuntarily look down at his shoes as an initial precaution. I then determine how well his jeans fit (not too tight or too loose) specifically around the calf and ankle, and if they compliment the type of shoe that they are paired with. This is why it is difficult to check guys out on public transportation – their feet are often concealed, making it impossible to imagine your future together without the risk of a devastating heartbreak when he walks off the metro and exposes his white New Balances. I’ve lost track of how many times this has happened to me. If a man does not pass the shoe/pants combination exam, he is instantly friend-zoned. 

Leonardo Dicaprio is an exception to this rule, but just barely, and only because we've seen how mindblowingly sexy he looks in a fitted suit and dress shoes.

 Image Credit: Cool Spotters 

It’s not fair to men. One's choice of shoes should not be an important factor when weighing the overall personality and attractiveness of a complete stranger. But for over half of women surveyed, and every female I have ever discussed this matter with, a man’s footwear offers clues as to what type of music he listens to, how clean his apartment is, if he still lives with his parents, what type of job he has, etc. For example, the following stereotypes have been accurate in my experience.

Still listens to Bright Eyes:

Image Credit: Lyst


Still lives with his parents:

Image Credit: Etnies


Still a virgin:

Image Credit: That's So Dad


It’s rude and petty, but many women (myself included) feel that shoes help serve as a window into the soul of the poor guy standing by the bar, innocently enjoying his beer, void of the slightest clue that what’s on his feet partially determines his probability of getting laid that night. 

If a guy loves and feels comfortable in his plush sneakers, cargo shorts, and Fruit Of The Loom Men's Value 10 Pack Over-The-Calf Tube Socks, he should by all means wear them with pride. However, it's good form to keep in mind that footwear decisions could very likely be repelling women at first glance, and it's not you. It's us.